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Deceiver: Foreigner #11    by C. J. Cherryh order for
by C. J. Cherryh
Order:  USA  Can
Daw, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Deceiver is the eleventh (following Deliverer and Conspirator) in C. J. Cherryh's outstanding Foreigner series, which only improves with time. The story centers on stranger in a strange land Bren Cameron, and his atevi associates.

Bren's people live on the island of Mospheira on the atevi world, which is ruled by Tabini. A brilliant linguist and diplomat, Bren is the liaison between humans and atevi, responsibile for the gradual transfer of human technology (arranged by treaty) to the aliens. Through the series, atevi and Mospheirans have had to deal with many new contacts.

First the starship Phoenix (which originally dropped human colonists on the planet) reappeared. Then a human/atevi space expedition (including Bren) made contact with other aliens, the Kyo. On its return, Tabini took back control of his Western Association, which had been overthrown. In Deliverer and Conspirator, Tabini's young heir Cajeiri got himself - and Bren Cameron - into all kinds of trouble.

As Deceiver opens, Bren, Tabini's acerbic grandmother Ilsidi, and their staff are picking up the pieces after uncovering treachery on Lord Geigi's estate (ruled in his absence on the space station by his weak nephew Baiji, who is now in Bren's custody). Ilsidi (with help from Cajeiri) made a treaty with the Edi (the aboriginal people uprooted from Mospheira island for the human settlement there) - will Tabini approve?

Adding to Bren's worries is the presence at his Najida estate of his brother Toby and Toby's lady Barb (who had a previous - and complex - relationship with Bren). As Bren and Ilsidi work their way through the maze of local politics, and infighting amongst the rebels, Cajeiri must work out how to deal with the new, arrogant security team his father has assigned to him - Lucasi and Veijico are not taking his direction.

When Lord Geigi arrives to sort out his estate, Bren is delighted to see his old friend again but worries (quite rightly) about his safety. There are further attacks and a kidnapping (precipitated by a lesson Cajeiri tries to teach his new bodyguards), culminating in a very bold move by Bren, who arranges a perilous meeting with the chief rebel, Machigi of Taisigi clan.

This long-running Foreigner series is a consistently engaging one and - as always - I can't wait for what comes next for Bren Cameron and his associates on - and off - the atevi world.

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